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How do you handle this?
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GillianF



Joined: 20 Aug 2012
Posts: 649
Location: Dordogne

PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 3:53 pm    Post subject: How do you handle this? Reply with quote

I'm just getting garden furniture, sun loungers out of storage for the start of our season.

I have noticed that one of a set of six plastic garden chairs is broken. I didn't notice this when I put them away.

The set of six are only two years old and I bought them thinking they were quite robust.

The question is - IF I had noticed the chair was broken on a changeover what would I have done? OH is quite cross and will attempt a repair. I don't think we could have charged the guest for the chair.

But, we are now discussing what we could/would have done.

When something in a set breaks only one item is broken/no longer useable. But, in the case of, for example, chairs, glasses, pillowcases they are no longer a set for guests. Obviously glasses are a smallish item but a set of pillowcases could be as many as four or eight on a double bed and the chairs and other items could be sets of 6 or more.

How do you handle this sort of breakage? Obviously, I'm not suggesting we could/would have charged the guest for a set of six chairs because one was broken by them but it also seems wrong we bear the cost which could mount up and result in a lot of wasted, perfectly serviceable chairs, in this case.

For now, I'll put the broken chair away and we'll have set of five for the (five) incoming guests. For future weeks I'll have to put the fifth chair away as a 'spare' and buy a pair which won't match the four but will not be too much of a compromise. It won't look as nice as I would like which is annoying.
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Moliere



Joined: 08 Mar 2007
Posts: 4597
Location: Magalas, Languedoc

PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tbh, I don't really think guests notice these things as much as we sometimes think they do. I know we renters have our own vision of how our properties should look, but do the holidaymakers share that vision? Do they care?

I'd just get a pair of chairs which are sufficiently different from your existing ones so it looks deliberate and they're not intended to match (eg perhaps they could have higher backs, which some people like) thus making a virtue out of the difference.

Mols
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newtimber



Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 1516
Location: Brighton

PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the solution is not to buy "sets" where you cannot replace individual items that get broken. Things do get broken in a holiday let...

I'm not sure you can repair plastic chairs very well. They can develop cracks with age that you don't notice and to charge the guest just because happen to be sitting on it when it actually cracks completely would not be reasonable. It could have been a manufacturing fault (or they might have hit it, but who knows?)
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GillianF



Joined: 20 Aug 2012
Posts: 649
Location: Dordogne

PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I take the point that guests might not notice (or care about) things we think about and I wouldn't have charged the guest for the chair. I will buy something that looks deliberately 'odd' to the rest.

But, I don't think it is possible to avoid 'sets'. If nothing (knife, fork, mug, plate, chair, linen etc.) matches anything it can look as though we've just equipped and furnished the place from cast offs or whatever came to hand. I think guests deserve, and expect, better!

Before we ever started renting ourselves we visited some friends staying in a gite. The comment was made "This place really shouldn't sleep four - there are no matching glasses or plates for four people!" When that friend came and saw our brand new shiny gites she commented that it was lovely because we'd obviously bought things with a thought for how they went together and not just used what we didn't want ourselves.
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greenbarn



Joined: 30 May 2009
Posts: 5902
Location: The Westmorland Dales, Cumbria

PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The answer sits in the underlying question: “What if a guest breaks one of a pair/set and I couldn’t get a single replacement?”
The answer is “I’ll have a problem of my own making”.
The solution is to buy stuff aimed at the professional catering market where replacements are available long term, or if the set is an end of range bargain buy or similar, go for it but take it squarely on the chin when one gets broken.

In summary, we might ask guests to compensate us if they break something (maybe), but we can’t expect them to compensate us for our bad business decisions.

Having recently got into the position where some garden chairs out of a large set are reaching end of life, I’m fine with having two or three pairs instead of a matching set of four or six - it’s really only one odd one that sticks out. Even that may not be an issue if it’s sufficiently different (better?), such as the only chair with arms or something.
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zebedee



Joined: 12 Sep 2014
Posts: 756
Location: yorkshire dales

PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to say I agree with the above.
Guests are unlikely to always take as much care as you might hope for, and it is a learning curve to chose furnishings and linen that is still useful even when some become worn, stained or unserviceable.

If you checked into a hotel and accidentally spilt some hair product or makeup on a pillow case that caused a stain you would not expect to be billed for more than the damaged product. Why? Because you expect that the hotel has ample spare replacements.

I made the mistake of purchasing a full set of white towels that were embroidered with a pretty blue motif when I started out, then one got "lost" and of course, I could not replace it. I know towels aren't as expensive as chairs, but the experience focuses the mind and future choices.

With regard to cutlery and crockery, I buy white crockery which means you can match different makes and spares of everything at the time so I can remove and / or replace anything chipped lost etc.
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kyreniagirl



Joined: 05 Jan 2010
Posts: 2320

PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 11:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We once had one of a pair of pottery bedside lamps broken by a dogs tail (you know - the dog that's not supposed to be in the bedrooms).
I charged for a replacement pair, they were about £50.00 for a pair. Guest was cross but I didn't see why I should have odd lamps in the room.
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RichardHenshall



Joined: 05 Sep 2009
Posts: 381
Location: Luz, Algarve

PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2017 12:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If having a totally matching set is very important, the only solution is to buy spares while they're available.

If you need six and buy eight, expecting to lose one every two years, you should have a set of six for six years for 33% extra cost over the set (of 6) that would have lasted two years.

If you are able to recoup cost of (single) breakages or cannibalise the broken items for parts, the economics are even better.
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Mouse



Joined: 20 Jun 2006
Posts: 7104
Location: Balearics

PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2017 6:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like Richard, we buy spares if we can. I have patterned bedding on the single beds, my choice, and I do buy a spare set if I can.
I have just lost one out of four sets due to damage by the launderette so now have only 3. One will become a spare.

I have to say though that I age with Kyreniagirl, I would have charged for both in that situation.

Mouse
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e-richard



Joined: 17 Oct 2004
Posts: 4877
Location: Algarve, Portugal

PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2017 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The "spares" argument does not work for two reasons:

1. With items that age over time, your spare comes out looking new and different anyway.

2. Eventually even spares will get broken, stained, lost etc and then what ? You're back to square 1.

If "matching" matters that much, then the only real solution is a healthy bank balance, a generous replacement policy and a needy local charity shop for the odds.
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GillianF



Joined: 20 Aug 2012
Posts: 649
Location: Dordogne

PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2017 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting to read all your thoughts and comments.

I too charged for two bedside lamps when only one was broken. The guest probably wasn't happy but they were fairly inexpensive and no comment was made about the deduction.

I do have white crockery and plain cutlery and buy from a local supplier but their designs/sizes change subtly over the years. I do keep spares but, as said, the spares eventually run out. I don't charge for breakages or loss of smaller items but a garden chair is not a minor cost - the cost of a set even less so.

I don't expect to pay for 'damage' or 'breakages' in a hotel because it is a hotel. It's different. A hotel is furnished with a view to being 'industrial' and 'practical' and they can negotiate with and use professional equipment suppliers. In a hotel you only see what's in your room so you don't, generally, know if the room next door has completely different things in terms of bedding, towels etc. but in a gite you would notice two single beds in the same room having different bedding.

In my view, a gite is different. A gite is meant to have a 'home from home' feel, a feeling that it is a home and not a business. I think, on that basis, it should be furnished and equipped with a homely, but practical, feeling and not have a hotel feeling.

I suppose the consensus is that unless damage was wanton by the guest then we, as owners, have to bear the cost and hope for the best .................
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AngloDutch



Joined: 11 Jul 2014
Posts: 616
Location: Netherlands

PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2017 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gillian, the same happened this year with our plastic garden furniture. But we now have two broken chairs, caused by two different guest groups and occurring within a month. The first group told us to take €25 off the security deposit but we noticed that they had paid for a pet which had not come with them, so decided not to charge them. When the second one broke a few weeks later, we thought it was too much of a coincidence and thought that the chairs must have some kind of defect, so didn't charge the other guests either. The break on both chairs is in exactly the same place, where the seat meets the top of one of the legs.

We had purchased these 2 table and chair sets (so, 8 chairs) in Summer 2015. They are from Jardin (have no idea if this is a known brand outside the Benelux). We went immediately looking for replacements but could not find the same coloured chairs on the manufacturers website, so googled the barcode and found an online store in Belgium that had stock of these chairs which are no longer in production. The Belgian store sent 5 extra chairs to us with free shipping to the NL (which is pretty amazing, seeing the weight/size of the shipment when it arrived and the fact that there is very little room for markup on something costing less than €30).

We also contacted Jardin directly (the online store where we purchased the originals two years ago has since ceased trading), as we saw on another Dutch website that Jardin garden furniture carries a 2-year guarantee. It took a while for the manufacturer to reply but they have now agreed to send 2 replacement chairs to us for free. They are not the same colour, so will keep them for our own use.

So, check if the chair is still under guarantee - we were just in time with our two - maybe the manufacturer can help you.
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AngloDutch



Joined: 11 Jul 2014
Posts: 616
Location: Netherlands

PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2017 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kyreniagirl wrote:
We once had one of a pair of pottery bedside lamps broken by a dogs tail (you know - the dog that's not supposed to be in the bedrooms).
I charged for a replacement pair, they were about £50.00 for a pair. Guest was cross but I didn't see why I should have odd lamps in the room.


We once had guests run over a metal plant pot in the garden (they had decided to take a short cut across the grass). The pot and the plant were completely flattened (looked like a manhole cover) and the guests just threw it into a rubbish container without mentioning anything to us.

As we had had two of these exact same plant pots, we emailed them and said that we would be charging them for two replacement pots and one new plant. They queried why they were being charged for two pots and we replied that we still wanted to have two the same, at either side of the garden. They then asked why we had chosen 'expensive' replacements and we replied that the originals were not cheap to begin with, and were only a few months old! Rolling Eyes
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greenbarn



Joined: 30 May 2009
Posts: 5902
Location: The Westmorland Dales, Cumbria

PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2017 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The notion that if a guest accidentally damages one of a pair/set then the guest is responsible for the whole pair/set, is worrying.
The guest is liable for the item they’ve damaged; they can’t realistically be held responsible for additional items they haven’t damaged.

If it’s part of a pair/set then as has already been said, the owner should not have chosen to put something into a commercial undertaking that couldn’t be readily replaced, or the owner’s insurance should cover the replacement.

If as a Guest I thought that any security/damages deposit I paid would be withheld with no justification, I’d have to think twice about booking somewhere that took such a deposit, and where my rights weren't protected by some independent agency without having to go to the lengths of suing the owner in the courts for the return of my money; probably not worth the effort. The knock-on effect is that any potential guest might be put off the whole idea of using rental properties if they thought that owners could or would withhold a guest’s money on an unjustifiable whim.
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Sunbeam



Joined: 10 Aug 2015
Posts: 74
Location: Spain

PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2017 6:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally I would avoid 'sets'.

For double beds we use white linen for pillow cases and flat sheets which not only avoids the problem of damaging one-of-a-set but makes laundry, storage and picking-the-linen-for-the-making-up-of-beds much easier. We also avoid fitted sheets, using a flat sheets 'top and bottom' - so our linen store is very simple (also easier to iron).

For children's single beds we use a plain beige fitted and flat sheet from IKEA - they have a percale range that is quite good quality.

I could imagine being annoyed if one a a set of two bedside lamps, for example, was damaged as no idea where we would by a second one - but we wouldn't charge. The single remaining lamp would perhaps be recommissioned for an alcove or table somewhere.

Good suggestions from others about replacing with 'obvious' different type of chair.
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